Columbia High got a feel for playoff volleyball when it extended Castle Rock to five sets in Trico League action here last Thursday.
The Bruins (0-3, 2-3) won the even sets 15-9, 15-9, the Rockets the odd, 15-10, 15-10, to force a deciding set between equally matched teams.
The fifth set was a new experience for the 2001 Bruins, who had gone four sets twice. The new feeling quickly wore off, however, as they fell behind 8-2.
And though the Bruins tried to mount a rally similar to the one that bailed them out in the fourth set, the Rockets weren't about to give in; they wanted the win as badly as the Bruins did.
But at crunch time, with the score 11-6, the Bruins began showing signs of fatigue. The Rockets, just as tired, dug deep down for that little extra that enabled them to tally four of the final five points, with match (and exclamation) point coming on a stuff block.
Bruins Coach Amy Kasenga noted afterward: "We expected it to be a battle, and it was. We're looking forward to another great match the next time we meet."
Team highlights included a 92-percent success rate from the service line (109-119, four aces) and 74 percent in passing (327-440).
Individual standouts were juniors Kristin Janney (13 blocks, 6 kills, 44-47 spikes, 24-25 serves), Mallory Holtman (6 kills, 6 blocks, 37-51 spikes, 12-13 serves), Lisa Graves (17-17 serves, 3 blocks) and Jessica Kinder (27-28 spikes, 21-23 serves).
In jayvee action, the Junior Bruins lost 15-0, 15-2 to remain winless on the season.
Columbia 2, at Portland Adventist 0 --
The Bruins won the Sept. 19 non-league match played under Oregon rules, beating the Cougars in two sets, 15-12, 15-10.
For the match, seven of nine Bruins served at a 100-percent clip; the team's percentage was only slightly lower (96 percent, 46-51 serves).
The junior varsity match went to Portland Adventist in two, 15-13, 15-10.
Woodland 3, at Columbia 1 --
The league-leading Beavers dominated the Bruins in their Sept. 18 Trico match, winning sets one, two and four by scores of 15-1, 15-0, 15-1.
Columbia took the third set, 15-8, but was unable to reverse Woodland's momentum.
Bruins Coach Amy Kasenga pointed to a lack of possessions, CHS' inability to put together runs when it had the ball (just 31-40 serving on the night), and the presence Woodland projected as reasons for the loss.
"I don't think they're unbeatable," she said of Woodland, "but they're intimidating. They were loud, confident and basically came in and took over our gym. We weren't prepared for that."
Kasenga said she hopes the Bruins will be better prepared the next time they face the Beavers on Oct. 4 in Woodland.
"We videotaped the match so we can watch ourselves, watch them to see where their threats are and develop some strategies to counter them," she added.
In the preliminary, White Salmon's junior varsity squad lost to Woodland's, 3-0.